Sony has enacted a refund policy for purchases made from the PlayStation Store. This is kicking off today — no coincidence, given that Sony just cut off third-party retailers from selling digital download codes for products redeemable on the PlayStation Store. The terms for refund differ slightly depending on the type of content you’re returning, but with the exception of subscriptions like PS Plus and PS Now, you won’t be able to get credit back on a purchase once you play it — or even download it.
For preorders, you have up to 14 days from the purchase date to receive a refund, but only if you haven’t started to download or stream the content — this includes preloading. If you’re eligible to get your money back, Sony will return it to the original payment method. This is the best-case scenario.
Things are worse for games that are already released and all DLC, including season passes. You still have 14 days from the day of purchase to get a refund if you haven’t downloaded or played the content. What’s worse is that instead of getting a refund to the original payment method, you’ll get PSN wallet credit. To avoid frustration with its refund process, Sony suggests turning off the “Automatic Downloads” function, so that you don’t accidentally invalidate yourself from getting a refund.
It’s safe to say that most PS4 owners probably have the “Automatic Downloads” feature on, as it lets you jump right into the game when you get some free time. The worst part of owning a console is waiting for a game to download, or even a last-minute patch to be installed. The new refund policy is Sony essentially asking its users to switch off one of the PS4’s biggest conveniences for the sake of security when buying games.
Subscriptions to PlayStation Plus or PlayStation Now can be refunded within 14 days of your purchase, but those, too, will credit your PSN wallet instead of your original payment method. Sony states that it may prorate the refund depending on how much of your subscription has lapsed, so don’t be surprised if the original purchase amount isn’t given back to you.
Sony says that it will allow for refunds on downloaded content it deems “faulty,” but that’s fairly nebulous phrasing. It’s not likely to hand out refunds if a game is buggy, though it may do so if those bugs create issues widespread enough to be acknowledged by the developer, like when BioWare responded to Anthem randomly shutting down PS4 consoles.
Given that Sony has secured exclusive rights to the sales of digital goods from its PlayStation Store, it’s not surprising to see it taking ownership of the refund process. However, given how relaxed some of the competition is, it seems lacking. Steam, for example, will refund your original payment method up to 14 days after purchase even if you played the game in question for less than two hours.
Updated 2:15PM, April 1st: Pre-orders can be refunded at any point until a game’s release. Then, once the payment goes through, you’ll have 14 days to claim a refund, but only if you haven’t downloaded the software. This post originally stated that all pre-orders were subject to a 14-day limit for refund. We regret the error.